Ask any Chelsea fan with a smattering of knowledge of the history of the club and he or she will know about the heroics of former defender David Webb.
Amongst his many achievements as a stalwart campaigner, Webb is installed in the Chelsea pantheon as the scorer of the winning goal in their epic 2-1 victory against bitter rivals Leeds United in the 1970 FA Cup final replay.
Webb was also an interim manager for Chelsea in 1993, saving them from relegation but never receiving the full-time job despite his success. He made way for Glenn Hoddle.
Much travelled as a player and manager, Webb’s favourite club still remains Chelsea. When in Grand Cayman recently, he received much love from local fans, especially the Chelsea contingent still appreciative of his contribution to the club’s successes, pre-Roman Abramovich.
With his wife Michelle they hope to buy a holiday home in Grand Cayman. She has nearly changed her mind over a deep fear of hurricanes. That, and not leaving her son, Daniel, alone in England where he is a semi-pro footballer and youth team coach for Leyton Orient, a Division Two club in east London.
David is proud of Daniel’s coaching prowess, having taken over an abysmal Under-14 team and turned them around in a matter of months.
“They played 27 times last season and never won a game. Daniel’s taken over this season and won 15 out of 17,” Webb said as he basked in George Town’s morning sun on his last day at Comfort Suites.
“A lot of them are black kids from south London and some of them had a bit of chip on their shoulders.
“Daniel’s obviously got something about him because apparently the kids from the station to training. They’re very keen.
“He’s also turned around some players Orient wanted to get rid of. One of them Chelsea are chasing now. Daniel’s really pleased with himself.
“So that’s the big problem now. Mum doesn’t want to leave her son. He’s 29 mind and more of a problem than the hurricanes.
“He would come out here like a shot but has got more opportunity to build himself a career in the United Kingdom.”
Daniel’s methods have been so effective that the whole club is considering adopting his format.
“I call him Jose Ferguson now,” Webb said. “I’m pleased for him and think that if someone like Brendan Rodgers can end up as Liverpool’s manager having started off like Daniel, I think he’s got a great opportunity.
“He’s picked up much more than when I left off because I just got fed up with it all. Some of the rubbish that goes on in English football drives me mad. If you want to be on that merry-go-round, c’est la vie.”
Webb was a guest speaker at Chelsea before Christmas and watched the match with the club’s chairman. Rafa Benitez had just taken over and the hostility from the Chelsea faithful was evident.
Constant abuse from start to finish partly because Benitez insulted Chelsea when he was the Liverpool boss and also because he had just taken over from ousted hero Roberto Di Matteo, who only a few months earlier had steered them to an improbable first ever Champions League final victory.
Webb quips: “It was Benitez’s first home game and I realise now that the chairman might have used me as a human shield.
“Chelsea’s management are nice people, the club is in a much better position than it was years ago with Ken Bates and people like that. It is such a big organisation now.”
There are plenty of hardcore Chelsea supporters in the Cayman Islands, besides this reporter, so Webb will feel extremely comfortable if he stays long term.
They include Shaun McCann, Steve Butler, Charlie Quinn, Ivan Burges, Richard Harrison, Graham Coombes, Peter Campbell and Stan Walton.
Webb is impressed with the football setup here and amazed that there are so many involved doing it for little or no pay, just for the love of the game and to help the next generation.
He hopes that his namesake, Cayman’s football chief Jeffrey Webb, now the CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president, can build on the recently launched Grassroots programme, sponsored by Maples and Calder and find the finances to help coaches and senior players stay involved.
“You would have expected Jeffrey Webb to funnel some sort of investment through FIFA and syphon funds into this country to help all the youngsters, especially when times are hard, to keep them off the streets,” David Webb said. “Best place for them is on the football pitch or in some other sport.
“That was the way I got out of the east end of London, through football. If you didn’t get involved in sport, it was a bit of villainy.
“A lot of my mates ended up in villainy. You couldn’t help it, it was a part of where you were.”
Webb first came here four years ago, loved it and wanted to buy a property. He didn’t get around to it, but having been back a few times, is even more enchanted. However, he is astounded by local prices, despite the world recession.
“Everything seems to be dearer,” he said. “But they don’t seem to be paying anybody more money. Why is it so much more expensive in Cayman? I don’t know how the ordinary person can afford to live here. People are struggling.
“Every penny that they earn must just go on living, such as food and accommodation.
“What I don’t understand is how you’ve got the sun, which is what a lot of people come out here for and you don’t tap into that. Electricity bills here just don’t make sense.
“There must be other ways of getting power. You’ve got the sun and the breeze that comes across, which are two natural resources that countries in Europe and some parts of North America would love to have, yet Cayman doesn’t tap into. They tell me they’re not allowed to.”
Despite the huge living expenses, he wants to spend more time in Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman because of the warmth and compassion of the people.
“I love the Caymanian people,” he said. “This hotel employs more Caymanians than any other. They catch my humour. It’s amazing. I talk to Americans and they don’t quite get it but Caymanians and Jamaicans do.
“If you give them a smile, they give you a smile back. My mate, Dave Morritt, said that what he loves is the warm breeze going through you. I feel the same way, too, and I’m always sad when I’m going home. My wife feels exactly the same.”
Webb, 66, trades shares now and is considering setting up an office. “All I’d have to do is get Frank Lampard and John Terry to give me one month’s money and I’d have a few million to invest from day one!
“I’ve got a lot of friends in the UK and if it was tax advantageous I would think of doing it,” he added. “There are opportunities here, no matter what anyone says.”
He has a large boat in the UK and would like to find a property here with a dock, ideally in North Sound. Every time the Webbs come, their desire to stay longer in Grand Cayman grows.
Chelsea Football Club is still his strongest link with the game. Webb would like to see Jose Mourinho return to the club he was so successful with when Benitez’s interim period finishes in the summer, and if not for the mercurial Portuguese then Gianfranco Zola eventually or Steve Clarke who is “cutting his teeth with West Brom”.
Webb wants to see a long-term manager at the Bridge. Changing bosses as rapidly as Abramovich does is destabilising for players and the club generally, he said.
“Abramovich has done a lot more good for Chelsea than harm. Whatever it is, I’m sure he’ll make the right decision.”
Webb admires the Arsenal business model and their loyalty to Arsene Wenger, but he is sure that the studious Frenchman would not have lasted at Stamford Bridge for so long. < /p>
His ultimate boss is Sir Alex Ferguson for the way he has married his old-school methods with new technology and attitudes.
In the meantime, he will carry on with his search for the ultimate vacation boltholt and wonder how to get Lamps, Terry and the rest of the Chelsea super-rich investing in his portfolio.